While attempting to maintain law and order, and ensure that people follow social distancing and curfew measures across India amid the pandemic, police officers have been having a hard time of late.
They face insults, abuse, and aggression on a regular basis, with ill-tempered exchanges sometimes spilling over into violence.
Speaking to Sputnik, Vikram Singh, a policeman on COVID-19 duty in Delhi, said that people need to understand that policemen are humans too.
"Even we have families, even we have fear of getting the virus. For days we are not going back home or keeping our kids away from us. We are doing it for you (general public). So the least they can do is follow the guidelines set by the government," he said.
Delhi Police Chief S.N. Shrivastava has urged people not to leave their homes without valid reasons during the lockdown, and said anyone who breaks the rules could be fined or arrested.
Several videos of people defying the authorities have gone viral on social media.
A Delhi couple was recently filmed arguing with a police officer who stopped them for flouting a weekend curfew and not wearing a masks inside their car on Sunday.
In the video, the unruly woman and her partner hurled abuse at the cops. The pair was later detained and booked.
With such boorish, uncouth #COVIDIOTS , expect #COVID19 cases to rise in Delhi. People aren't willing to learn. @DelhiPolice personnel remained calm despite the woman in video misbehaving with them. 👇 pic.twitter.com/MMDe54CLJ5— Pramod Kumar Singh (@SinghPramod2784) April 18, 2021
In another viral video from Uttar Pradesh state, a youth can be seen striking a policeman who had collared him for not wearing a mask.
A sub-inspector slaps a youth for not wearing masks and refusing to pay fine in Fazilnagar area of UP's Kushinagar. The youth surprised the SI by returning the favour with his left hand. See the video:@Benarasiyaa @Uppolice pic.twitter.com/UAtR2flN7r— Kanwardeep singh (@KanwardeepsTOI) April 21, 2021
Meanwhile, Nishank Sharma, an assistant commissioner in India's Uttar Pradesh state, said that despite the violence, it's important the police remain calm.
"We care for the public and are even risking our lives so that the spread of the virus can be stopped," he said. "We are there to help the people in need," Sharma said, adding that "on a daily basis we are witnessing record numbers of COVID cases. Public needs to become more considerate towards their lives and think about their loved ones. We urge/ request everybody to stay at home and avoid going out."
India has witnessed a record number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in a single day, with 2,023 deaths and 295,041 infections reported in the last 24 hours. Several states, including Maharashtra and Punjab, have also imposed strict measures to curb the spread of the virus.